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Educational Assistant

Educational assistants support students as part of a multidisciplinary team with teachers and other support personnel to provide meaningful instruction. Educational assistants also help teachers with non-instructional tasks.

  • Avg. Salary $28,626.00
  • Avg. Wage $21.39
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
Also Known As

Instructional Assistant, Program Aide/Assistant, Special Needs Educational Assistant, Teacher Aide, Teacher Aide

NOC & Interest Codes
The Educational Assistant is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Elementary and Secondary School Teacher Assistants
NOC code: 6472

Interest in assisting special-needs students such as those with mental and physical disabilities with mobility, communication and personal hygiene


Interest in copying information to work under direct supervision of classroom teachers and other professionals such as special education instructors, psychologists and speech-language pathologists; in assisting with classroom inventory; in using techniques such as sign language, Bliss symbols or Braille; in monitoring and reporting to classroom teacher on student progress; and in monitoring students during recess and noon hour


Interest in handling techniques of behaviour modification, personal development and other therapeutic programs; in preparing classroom displays and bulletin boards; in assisting in the preparation of learning materials and environment; and in accompanying and supervising students during activities in school gymnasiums, laboratories, libraries and resource centres, and on field trips

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 27, 2017

Educational assistants work for early intervention programs, schools, summer camps, child care centres and other learning organizations. They support students, teachers and other professionals. In a school setting, they may:

  • be supervised by 1 or more teachers
  • work with students who have special needs
  • work with 1 or more students in the classroom and other settings
  • supervise students in structured (classroom) and unstructured (hallways, recess, lunch hour) settings
  • help prepare materials and do clerical tasks as required.

Duties vary from one position to another but, in general, they:

  • support students to be included in the classroom and school
  • implement lesson and behaviour plans for students as directed by the teacher
  • support students to participate in learning activities
  • help students with lessons and assignments
  • demonstrate activities
  • set up and take down displays, play spaces and work spaces
  • report on student behaviour and progress
  • help students with physical and personal care needs
  • encourage positive student behaviours
  • conduct oral tests or act as a scribe for students
  • collect and prepare learning materials and use assistive technology to support learning
  • help with school-wide special events and activities
  • supervise children during lunch and recess breaks or field trips
  • support students to build good relationships at school.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 27, 2017

Educational assistants work indoors except when supervising students outdoors or on field trips. They may need to lift items weighing up to 10 kilograms. Sometimes, heavier lifting may be required (for example, to help students move in and out of wheelchairs).

Those who work in school systems usually have the same holidays as teachers. However, most work on a contract basis and are not paid during the summer months. Some school districts pay over the 12-month period and provide benefits for those in permanent positions. Work may include after-school hours to attend staff or committee meetings.

Private-sector schools may employ educational assistants for the full calendar year.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 27, 2017

Educational assistants need to possess:

  • flexibility, patience, sensitivity, tolerance, enthusiasm, creativity and imagination
  • a positive attitude
  • good health and physical fitness
  • good speaking and writing skills
  • keen observation skills
  • an ability to deal with the stress of working with 1 or more students who are active and demanding
  • an ability to interact with students and staff in a tactful, empathetic manner
  • an ability to take direction and work alone or as a team member
  • an ability to keep student information confidential
  • a commitment to the development, progress and inclusion of students with special needs in education.

They should enjoy:

  • working with people (especially students with physical, emotional or behavioural disabilities)
  • working within clear guidelines and finding innovative ways to handle situations.

Creativity is essential as educational assistants may need to search for and use strategies that match a student's interests and learning styles.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 27, 2017

Employers generally prefer to hire educational assistants who have a high school diploma and related post-secondary education. A first aid certificate, criminal record check and child intervention record check also may be required. Related experience is an asset.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Academy of Learning - Calgary NE

Academy of Learning - Calgary South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton Downtown

Academy of Learning - Edmonton South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton West

Academy of Learning - Medicine Hat

Academy of Learning - Red Deer

Assiniboine Community College - Brandon

Bow Valley College

Evergreen College - Calgary

Grant MacEwan University

Keyano College

Lakeland College

Medicine Hat College

Mount Royal University

Northern Lakes College

Northern Lights College

Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Stenberg College

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 27, 2017

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Educational assistants may work full time or part time in:

  • early intervention programs
  • kindergarten to grade 12 public, separate and private schools
  • after-school programs
  • post-secondary schools 
  • child care centres
  • summer camps and day programs
  • home-schooling environments
  • parent link centres, native liaison or other social services in which educational programming is offered.

Advancement requires further education. 

Educational assistants are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4413: Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants. In Alberta, 98% of people employed in this classification work in the Educational Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook (PDF) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Educational Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 15,700 Albertans are employed in the Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.5% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 236 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As educational assistants form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for educational assistants. 

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 27, 2017

Salaries for educational assistant positions vary widely throughout the province.

Educational assistants are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4413: Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants occupational group earned on average from $17.84 to $26.57 an hour. The overall average wage was $21.39 an hour. For more information, see the Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Community Care Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Education and Library Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 27, 2017

Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 27, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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